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Best of Mark Pilarski
Mutual funds versus blackjack24 March 2000
Your analysis of comparing the stock market to blackjack is way off the mark. Entering the world of blackjack as a profession (investment) takes enormous work and you're playing against, if not for a better term, a financial institution that not only has a built-in house edge but is there exclusively to beat you. Come on, Ralph. How many people do you know who win at blackjack — consistently? Compare that to what a market like NASDAQ has done over the past 10 years. Gone up, up, up! Give me a dart board and the Wall Street Journal and I would have averaged 12% over the past 30 years.
I'm sure your next argument will be that of becoming a sophisticated card counter. Sorry, it's not worth spending hours in smoke-filled casinos, performing tedious mental calculations and disguising your play so you won't be thrown out, just for a 1% edge.
Finally, Dr. Edward Thorp, who wrote the classic Beat the Dealer was, as a professional, in the investment business. Even he conceded it is far easier to make money in the financial markets than at blackjack. Unfortunately, gambling is a poor man's way of investing, and even for the poorest of investors, a $500 wager in a mutual fund is a much better bet.
Congratulate your mother for me, Roberta, for waiting till the lottery reaches $20 million before she purchases her tickets. Because the true odds of hitting the California lottery are 18,009,460 to 1, she's actually playing the game smart.
As for the legality of sending tickets
through the mail, sorry, Roberta, using the United States Postal Service
for this particular ruse is against the law. Millions do it,
unknowingly, but I have yet to hear of one individual who has been
charged, or convicted for sending lottery tickets by mail — NOT ONE! But
if you want to play it straight, it's perfectly legal to use a service
like Federal Express or Airborne Express.
The loss limits and cruise times are in
place to prevent problem gamblers from spending more than they can
afford to lose. Currently Missouri is the only state with these
restrictions. It is the wisdom of the Missouri legislature that by
setting limits you won't blow your trip bankroll, you will have time to
get religion and still have enough money to see Wayne Newton in Branson.
Best of Mark Pilarski